Housing recovery funds available
Military DoD civilians who face financial losses due to the current housing downturn can find relief in the ARRA influx of funds to the Housing Assistance Program (HAP).
Active members, former members, and survivors of those who have died on deployment of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, as well as DoD civilians, who have sold a primary residence for a loss, or are considering selling their home, may qualify for funds.
The Recovery Act appropriated $555 million in funds to the HAP, which DoD will use to temporarily expand this program in order to partially reimburse eligible members. applications.
To speak with a HAP representative, call (916) 557-6850 or 1-800-811-5532.
Heaving a line aboard USS Sterett
ARABIAN GULF Oct. 26, 2014 - Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) heave a line during a replenishment-at-sea with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Joshua Humphreys (T-AO 188). Sterett is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Eric Coffer
USS Carl Vinson notches 230,000th trap 10/26/2014
by MC3 Curtis D. Spencer, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Public Affairs
USS Carl Vinson, At Sea (NNS) -- Captain Karl Thomas, commanding officer of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) hosted a cake-cutting ceremony commemorating the ship's 230,000th arrested landing, Oct. 23.
During the ceremony, Thomas spoke of the significance of the milestone.
"This is a big occasion," said Thomas. "Notching 230,000 traps is pretty awesome. I appreciate all of the hard work that went into this achievement."
The landmark trap was accomplished by pilots Lt. Sean Stuart and Lt. Josh Raymond of the "Fighting Redcocks" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22. They, alongside Aviation Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Michael Eli, took the honors of cutting the cake.
"We feel honored to be a part of this milestone," said Stuart. "We can't land on the ship with out all the hard work between the ship's crew and air wing."
Raymond took the opportunity to let those in attendance know exactly how grateful they are.
"I just want to say thank you very much," Raymond added. "After every mission, it is nice to come back to a carrier with such a reliable crew."
Eli was the arresting gear room's supervisor at the time of the trap.
"It was exciting to be part of the achievement," said Eli. "It definitely ranks among the top experiences in my naval career."
ACB 1 participates in Pacific Horizon
PACIFIC OCEAN Oct. 22, 2014 - Sailors attached to Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1 aboard Improved Navy Lighterage System Causeway Ferry 17 shove off from the roll-on/roll-off discharge facility platform of the Military Sealift Command maritime propositioning force container, roll-on/roll-off ship USNS PFC Dewayne T. Williams (T-AK-3009) during Exercise Pacific Horizon 2015. Pacific Horizon is a scenario-driven, simulation supported crisis response exercise designed to improve 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade's and Expeditionary Strike Group 3's interoperability and strengthen Navy-Marine Corps relationships by conducting an in-stream Maritime Prepositioning Force offload of equipment, by providing host country civil-military security assistance, and by conducting infrastructure restoration support. U.S. Navy photo by MCSN Eric Chan
PACIFIC OCEAN (Oct. 21, 2014) The Military Sealift Command maritime propositioning force container, roll-on/roll-off ship USNS PFC Dewayne T. Williams (T-AK-3009) and Improved Navy Lighterage System Causeway Ferry 36 transport equipment and supplies to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., during exercise Pacific Horizon 2015. Pacific Horizon is a scenario-driven, simulation supported crisis response exercise designed to improve 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade's and Expeditionary Strike Group 3's interoperability and strengthen Navy-Marine Corps relationships by conducting an in-stream Maritime Prepositioning Force offload of equipment, by providing host country civil-military security assistance, and by conducting infrastructure restoration support. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Jonathan Nelson
Navy, Marine Corps engage in Exercise Pacific Horizon 2015 10/28/2014
by Story by MCSN Jonathan Nelson
CAMP PENDLETON , Calif. (NNS) -- Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3 and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) participated in Navy-Marine Corps joint exercise Pacific Horizon 2015 from Oct. 20-28.
PH15 is a scenario driven, simulation supported crisis response exercise designed to improve 1st MEB's and ESG-3's interoperability and strengthen Navy-Marine Corps relations by conducting an in-stream Maritime Pre positioning Force offload of equipment by providing host country civil-military security assistance, and by conducting infrastructure restoration support.
The operation consisted of Naval and Marine Corps personnel using ship-to-shore techniques to ferry tactical vehicles and supplies from Military Sealift Command ships to the shore.
PH15 employed the latest technologies and operation techniques to accomplish goals. Included in the exercise was a new MSC ship currently undergoing testing.
The mobile landing platform USNS Montford Point (MLP-1) and the USNS Dahl (T-AKR 312) staged in several nautical miles off the shore, acted as a mobile supply and vehicle depot to ferry materials by Landing Craft, Air Cushions to the beach.
Five LCACs traveled back and forth from the ships to the beach carrying vehicles and supplies supporting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
LCACs are vitally important in order to access places where normal vehicles cannot in a quick manner under challenging conditions.
"These ships are put out in strategic places for countries that don't have the response time that countries [like ours] do, [places] that are usually getting hit by hurricanes," said 1st Lt. Nick Boling, the landing force support party operations officer for Landing Support Company, 1st Transportation Support Battalion.
On shore, Marines also established a Tactical Water Purification System to provide up to 1500 gallons of clean water every hour, which would be used in a real world emergency.
The system plays an important role in the operation, as a single person uses approximately 20 gallons of water per day for hydration, hygiene and sanitation.
"We're providing water for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations during [the exercise]," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Aaron Alcorn, the utilities officer for Marine Wing Support Squadron 373.
"It can purify just about any type of water, fresh water, brackish water, even sea water like we're doing here. It takes out all of the impurities and solutes to make potable water."
Throughout the exercise, Marines also erected two multi-purpose buildings (SWA Huts) in order to shelter and support the fictional local population, whose home were destroyed when two hurricanes hit the region, as part of the PH15 scenario.
"In a humanitarian aid case, we as combat engineers would provide billeting, shelter or medical facilities if necessary in case a hurricane hit or any other disaster occurred," said 2nd Lt. Morgan Celaya, the platoon commander for Combat Engineer Platoon, MWSS-373.
During the culminating days of PH15, a group of distinguished visitors and members of the local media visited the training theatre to get a better understanding of the Navy-Marine Corps team amphibious capabilities.
The emphasis of the operation was to demonstrate to the public that while the Navy and Marine Corps excel in staging large-scale assaults on areas where the sea meets the land, they can also be used in smaller, brigade-level operations to provide extremely effective HA/DR.
Exercises like PH15 provide realistic, relevant and efficient training for the Navy and Marine Corps in order to respond effectively to a real-world crisis.
SAN DIEGO (Oct. 24, 2014) Midshipman Petersen walks with Alfred White, a survivor of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, through Rosecrans Cemetery during the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Leyte Gulf memorial service. The Battle of Leyte Gulf was the largest naval battle of World War II. Allied Forces were able to destroy much of the remaining Japanese surface fleet during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by MCSN Christopher Farrington
Final reunion for Battle of Leyte Gulf survivors 10/27/2014
by MC3 Joe Bishop, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Survivors of the Battle of Leyte Gulf shared their experiences during the 70th anniversary reunion with friends and family in San Diego from Oct. 22 to Oct. 26.
Leyte Gulf survivors from the 13 ships that made up the "Taffy 3" commemorated Sailors that were lost during the Battle of Samar, a critical battle within the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
"We've had a reunion ever year now," said Don Kurtze, a survivor assigned to USS Fanshaw Bay (CVE 70). "I've only missed one, and only because I was at the Mayo Clinic taking care of colon cancer."
A dozen midshipmen from the Naval Academy, Class of 2015, attended the event to pay their respects and take the opportunity to speak to the survivors firsthand.
"It's humbling to be in the presence of these men," said Phil Youngberg, midshipmen, Class of 2015 about speaking with the survivors. "They thank us for our service, but we are thankful for them. We're the new guys, we're the ones that should be giving them the honors."
Survivors shared their experiences and answered questions during an open forum in the ballroom at a local hotel.
"I think it's the ultimate compliment to these Sailors from World War II to know that these future officers want to take their experience and carry it forward," said James D. Hornfischer, a guest speaker and author of 'The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors'.
The Survivors shared their experiences with the visiting senior class of midshipmen and offered them advice for their future naval careers.
"They'll have a lot of good times ahead of them," said Oscar Fields, assigned to USS Fanshaw Bay during the battle. "As long as they learn that there has be mutual respect for those serving under them, they'll go a long way in being a good naval officer."
The survivors and guests also attended a ceremony at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery near the Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial.
"It's amazing to hear their stories, said Pete McDonald, midshipmen, Class of 2015. "The casual heroism of these men is awesome. I'm glad I could be here to hear what they had to say."
This will be the final reunion of the "Taffy 3" survivors.
NEX offers optional collar closure for service dress whites 10/29/2014
From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs Office
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Male officer and chief service dress white (SDW) coats can now be fitted with a single metal hook and eye closure at Navy Exchange (NEX) tailor shops that will improve the collar neck closure, according to the Navy's Uniform Matters Office.
This optional closure can replace the Velcro closure that is the standard closure for the uniform coat.
Some wearers found the standard closure did not provide the right fit and appearance, particularly after repeated wear and dry cleaning. The hook and eye closure can help provide a better fit to the SDW coat.
"The optional closure will help Sailors ensure the proper fit and professional appearance of their service dress whites, which must be maintain with all uniforms," said Capt. Janet Bristol, head of Navy Uniform Matters. "Sailors should replace or make alterations as needed to maintain proper appearance, wear and functionality of their uniforms."
The SDW coat hook and eye closure is optional and now available for alteration through the NEX at a cost of $13.50.
"As we consider any change to uniforms to improve fit, function, or appearance, our goal remains to have uniforms that our Sailors will proudly wear at sea and ashore that project our Navy heritage," said Bristol.
The hook and eye closure is also available for purchase via the NEX Uniform Call Center (1-800-368-4088 / Fax 1-757-502-7532 and USC_Customer_Service@NEXWEB.ORG.
Sailors can provide feedback on uniforms to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Coastal Riverine Group 1 holds change of command 10/27/2014
From Commander, Coastal Riverine Group 1 Public Affairs
IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. (NNS) -- Capt. Gary Leigh relieved Capt. Chris Peterschmidt as commander of Coastal Riverine Group 1 (CRG-1) during a change of command ceremony at Naval Outlying Landing Field, Imperial Beach, California, Oct. 20.
Peterschmidt assumed command of CRG-1 in April 2013.
"There are expeditionary security teams aboard U.S. flagged vessels going through the Suez Canal, guarding our submarines going through the Panama Canal, protecting units going through the Straits of Hormuz, and there is a young chief petty officer and his team prepared to stand in harm's way within about 90 seconds should a small boat approach any of those craft; irregular expeditionary warfare," said Rear Adm. Frank Morneau, commander of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and guest speaker. "Our boat crews stand duty 24/7, 365, around the globe. This group has been with four different combatant commands in the execution of its duties and it continues to execute its mission brilliantly.
"Chris, I can't thank you enough for the integrity, character, mission success and pride you brought to this group," said Morneau.
During Peterschmidt's time as commander, CRG-1 trained, certified, and deployed two coastal riverine squadrons and numerous detachment-level missions to Central Command, European Command, Pacific Command, and Africa Command providing combatant commanders the anti-terrorism and force protection forces needed to protect high value units operating within their areas of responsibility.
"As some of you know, I was the XO (executive officer) during the suicide bombing of USS Cole in 2000 and having the chance to come to a command that, in part, was created to prevent such attacks is coming full circle," said Peterschmidt. "There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about my shipmates that were killed or injured that day and to be able to contribute to this command has been my private way of taking that negative experience and putting it to work to prevent injury to others or to prevent disruption of our missions around the world."
CRG-1 also developed the training and certification requirements for the Navy's first coastal command boat, deploying the first crew to the U.S. 5th Fleet within six months of fleet acceptance. The training and certification plan will serve as the foundation and prototype for the future Mark VI patrol boat.
"Capt. Leigh, you are taking command of a fantastic group of dedicated professionals," said Peterschmidt.
Peterschmidt is a graduate of Marquette University and was commissioned an ensign in 1987. His next assignment will be Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command.
"I am extremely proud to be back home within expeditionary warfare, with NECC, and with my beloved Riverines," said Leigh. "I am grateful, I am humbled, and I am honored for this opportunity."
Leigh is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and was commissioned an ensign in 1991.
Coastal Riverine Force (CRF) operates in harbors, rivers, bays, across the littorals and ashore.
The primary mission of CRF is to conduct maritime security operations across all phases of military operations by defending high value assets, critical maritime infrastructure, ports and harbors both inland and on coastal waterways against enemies and when commanded conduct offensive combat operations.
To learn more about Coastal Riverine Group 1, check out their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CoastalRiverineGroup1
Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton observes Breast Cancer Awareness Month 10/24/2014
by MC2 Yasmine T. Muhammad,
Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton Public Affairs
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (NNS) -- Every October, in observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton's (NHCP)Breast Health Office displays photographs and biographies of courageous breast cancer survivors.
The display is set up on the first floor of the hospital in the waiting area between the Radiology and General Surgery Clinics for passersby to see.
"Survivors share their photos and stories to offer hope and remind viewers to be aware of their own breast health," said Amy Carter, a registered nurse at NHCP Breast Health Office.
The office also leads the NHCP Breast Cancer Support Group for breast cancer patients. Topics are based on member interests and have ranged from current trends in breast healthcare to creating pink-themed mastectomy pillows for new breast cancer patients.
"Not unlike Marines and Sailors who have served together in harm's way, breast cancer patients develop a bond of trust with each other, during these support group sessions, that only fellow survivors share," said Carter.
These meetings are held quarterly on the second Wednesday of October, February, May and August from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., and are open to all breast cancer patients, no referral needed.
"I always look forward to attending the breast cancer support group," said Cindy Sanchez, a recent breast cancer survivor and support group attendant. "It brings a smile to my face to reunite with fellow survivors and know we are not alone in our journey."
According to the American Cancer Society it is estimated that in 2013 approximately 300,000 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in the United States.
The American Cancer Society also states mammography is currently the single most important tool for detecting breast cancer and should be done by women without breast problems, ages 40 and older every year. Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam by their medical provider every three years.
In addition to the Breast Cancer Survivor display there will also be a table with health information in the same location to educate and inspire hospital visitors to advocate for their own health.
To schedule a mammogram, call (760) 719-3742. For further information about the NHCP Breast Health program, please call Amy Carter at (760) 719-3375.
USS Stethem CO relieved of command 10/24/2014
From Commander, Task Force 70 Public Affairs
SOUTH CHINA SEA (NNS) -- The commanding officer of the forward-deployed guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63), Cmdr. John Bradford, was relieved by Capt. Shan Byrne, commander, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 15, Oct. 24, due to loss of confidence in Bradford's ability to command.
The decision to relieve Bradford came after a recent incident involving a 19-foot wooden vessel reportedly hit by Stethem while the ship was underway from Subic Bay, Philippines, Oct. 13. No one was injured. The investigation is still in progress.
Stethem is now commanded by Capt. Chris Sweeney, deputy commodore of CDS 15, who will serve as a temporary relief. Bradford has been reassigned to Destroyer Squadron 15.
Stethem is currently on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.